Village, fire officials lend a helping hand in Harvey relief efforts


This story was updated on Sept. 6 at 3:33 p.m.

The Valley Stream Fire Department collected about 100 boxes full of batteries, blankets, first-aid supplies, toilet paper and canned pet food last Sunday at the Brooklyn Avenue firehouse for the victims of Hurricane Harvey — and with more collections under way at village facilities through Sept. 8, Valley Streamers are making an impact on the relief effort.

First Assistant Fire Chief Jason Croak said there were more donations that did not fit into the boxes. Some, he said, came from as far away as Seaford to participate in the drive. “It was an outstanding, outstanding support from the community,” Croak said.

The donated goods were scheduled for shipment to Texas on Wednesday, after the Herald went to press.

The village is still collecting donations at Village Hall, the Henry Waldinger Memorial Library and the Community Center through Friday.

Mayor Ed Fare said that village and fire officials sprang into action to coordinate relief efforts in the wake of Harvey. “Along with my brothers and sisters of the Valley Stream Volunteer Fire Department, we are known for helping out folks in need,” Fare said. “It is what we do — help others.”

Various places of worship in Valley Stream are also helping out. Bethlehem Assembly of God is raising money for Convoy of Hope, a Missouri-based disaster relief organization. According to Liz Tarakimikimi, executive assistant to the senior pastor, anyone who would like to donate can drop a check off at the church, at 12 E. Fairview Ave. She also said that the church might organize a trip to Texas in the coming months.

“Maybe in a month when they need help, we’ll go down and help,” Tarakimikimi said.

Hurricane Harvey dumped more than 40 inches of rain on Houston. It left the area with about $23 billion in property damage, according to Fortune magazine. As of Sept. 4, the death toll had topped 60.

Valley Stream Presbyterian Church and Masjid Hamza also aided in the relief efforts, accepting donations on Friday during Eid al-Adha prayer services.

“People are suffering,” said the Rev. Kymberley Clemons-Jones, of the Presbyterian Church. “Their whole lives have been upended … [Donating] is what being a Christian is all about.”